No online applications for Kenya’s Uwezo Fund loans – and no ‘fee’ charged

“Get Small interest loans and a flexible repayment period, apply for the first, second, third or fourth loan in order to start or expand your business idea,” reads a typical post on the Facebook page “Uwezo loans”.

Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it’s a scam.

The page wrongfully uses the name of the Uwezo Fund, a Kenyan government initiative that gives women, youth and people with disabilities access to business financing.

Posts on the page link to a Google Form, where people can supposedly apply for the bogus loans. Another scam Facebook page, “Uwezo Fund Loan”, also links to this form.

The “Uwezo loans” Facebook page was created on 27 April 2020 and has 238 followers. “Uwezo Fund Loan” page was created on 15 July 2020 and has only 37 followers.

By contrast, the genuine Uwezo Fund page has more than 84,000 followers and was created in August 2013.

Africa Check followed the application process on the Google Form – and the scam was quickly revealed. Once we had submitted our details, we were asked to pay a KSh320 “registration fee” via M-Pesa mobile money transfer.

Being asked to pay a fee for something offered on Facebook – a job, a loan, a donation or a giveaway – is a sign of a scam. Find out more in our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.

Application free of charge, on paper

To be sure, we checked the process for applying for loans on the official Uwezo Fund website. No registration fee is required. 

And only registered groups – not individuals – that represent women, youth or people with disabilities may apply. 

Each applicant is required to download, print and complete an application form and submit it on paper to their local constituency development funds office. No online option is provided.

‘Renounce any connection to fraudsters’

The Uwezo Fund has warned the public against paying any fees, emphasising that its loan applications are free of charge.

“Uwezo Fund would like to strongly renounce any connections to these fraudsters and further warn the public against paying any purported processing fee,” the agency said in a statement on 13 May 2020.

“Uwezo Loan Application forms can be downloaded free of charge from our website www.uwezo.go.ke.”

Any promises of Uwezo Fund loans that use a Google Form or unofficial website are fake. – Dancan Bwire


 

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